Saturday, April 9, 2011

RIP Sidney Lumet 1924 - 2011

I will, as usual, leave the aggrandizement to writers and publications with the time and money to do it proper justice.

I have long been an admirer of Lumet's films since before I even really had any idea or cared about who directed them. I saw Network, Dog Day Afternoon, Serpico, and Twelve Angry Men when I was in college and devouring as many cinema classics as I could get my hands on. I've seen them all at least a second time since and they all hold up remarkably well on both a second viewing and considering the years that have passed since their openings. You can read my review of his feature film debut, Twelve Angry Men, here.

He may not have been as consistently good as Martin Scorsese, but he covered similar ground, many of his films focusing on the urban grit of either cops or lawyers or both. Other admirable films of his include The Verdict, Murder on the Orient Express, the Eugene O'Neill adaptation Long Day's Journey Into Night, The Pawnbroker and Fail-Safe (the last two unseen by me).

Most remarkable about his body of work is that his last film, Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, made when he was 82, is just as good as his classics. As with Robert Altman, I am glad he made one more potential classic before his passing.

Nominated four times for the Best Director Oscar, he never won. Although he was given an Honorary Oscar in 2005 celebrating his career. That award is traditionally recognized as a tip of the hat to a cinematic giant who has undeservingly gone without an Oscar win.

I wish I had the time right now to take a look at some of his films and post fresh reviews, but as with Elizabeth Taylor's recent passing, I simply don't have the time.

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